penchant in its place

22 03 2010

[lc 21/03/10]
I want to write in defence of scarves. Yes I’m into flagging culture and the things that it represents but I’m worried that flagging culture is going to inhibit femme fashion and limit one’s ability to accessorise. I think that flagging needs to be context specific, like at gay clubs, sex on premise venues and at erotic parties. I want to be able to go down to my local coffee shop and wear my scarves and not worry about being misread as to my sexual proclivities or worry that that kind of information is available to the general public. There has been talk about having a specific knot or the usage of a brooch to symbolise a scarf not being a flag. I’ve also been told I just need to ‘suck it up’ and that if I want to wear a scarf that’s what I have to take on board. I disagree, I think that there are other reasons for wearing a scarf than just flagging and that these need to be accounted and accommodated for (todays bad hair day was a good example).

[gauche 16/08/10]
I think I’m with Max on the strict “no anti-flags” position — for me because flagging never implies consent — but also when it comes to sex acts, I’m suspicious of the fear of being misread. Like the heterosexual anxiety at being misread as queer (An aside: have you noticed straight cis men in dresses are often especially misogynistic? Think The Footy Show.), I think that worrying about whether people think I’m into scat, when if I’m not, is more about some aversion to that which I am (mis)taken for than a concern about any real communication failure.

This is coming from a queer femme who is often read as straight, who has decided I’d rather suck it up than suggest people should be able to read my sexuality from the way I look. (I think Max is writing more on identity and appearances later.) Which isn’t to say that being misread or misunderstood is never a big deal — it can be lethal — but that particular misunderstanding, of phantom flags, of the flag unintended, that’s one I want to embrace.


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9 responses

22 03 2010
sarah

um. I think I agree with the ‘suck it up’ sentiment… LC your just going to have to get some scarves that are in line with your sexual proclivities…

22 03 2010
M

I think THEY have to suck it up. if you’re not flagging and someone thinks you are, more fool them. it just makes you mysterious, is she flagging? is she just fashionable?
keep them on their toes i say – scarves are awesome

7 04 2010
n.

a) i think M has it. i don’t think flagging ought to be arbitrarily curtailed on the basis of locale, but in essence it comes back to that thing about flagging =/= consent; ie, if you extrapolate, scarves do not necessarily equate to flagging. flagging is a system of intent, above all, and thus, if your intention is not to flag, i’m pretty sure you’re just not flagging.

plus…any time you put on clothes and step out of the house you are going to be read according to the cultural meanings attached to your choice in garments or general style (anybody who moves in lesbian spaces and dresses in clothing generally percieved as ‘femme’ is probably particularly aware of this). flagging or wearing-scarves-and-not-flagging is, i think, much the same. one can wear a skirt and not be femme – but it’s also likely that regardless of identity, until somebody actually bothers to ask for clarification, that’s how you’re going to be read.

b) i would also like to canvas certain issues as to position of flags and the problems this can create for flagging and dressing/being femme simultaniously. for example. wearing scarves around the neck or head is a lot more in line with many femme styles than tying one around the wrist or – assuming you even have them, which is a pretty slim possibility given the nature of many feminine garments – in a pocket. however. flagging relies heavily on placement, and wearing a scarf centrally – no matter how delightful the visual effect – has very different connotations to placing it on the left or right of your body. i think perhaps there need to be more placement options when flagging is combined with femme dressing. or something. i can’t be knotting a hanky around my wrist when what i’m really after is a nice twinset-and-pearls approach to life, regardless of the kinks this may entail.

7 04 2010
maxattitude

I certainly think (and have said before) that it’s important to emphasise that flagging does not equal consent – but I think the point is: if you’re flagging you need to be prepared to be propositioned, and if you proposition someone and are refused, that has to be ok too. (This should always be the case, and most unfortunately isn’t – I think one of the great things flagging culture has to offer is an emphasis on propositioning/getting rejected ‘respectfully.’) [Trackback to pitching the woo]. I think the thing here is: ask for clarification (and it’s ok to ask). Totally.

In respect to wearing scarves ‘centrally’ – placing a knot on one side indicates top/bottom status: ie scarves can be worn around the neck where the position of the knot = (L) top * (C) versatile * (R) bottom

Flagging is traditionally pretty bland: it’s a bear/leather/gay thing where a hanky-in-your-back-pocket is fashionable (and well, butch). I am really looking forward to more femme flagging – like could brooches be flags? That would be awesome.

7 04 2010
n.

oh, i like that – you could definitely do some fantastic flagging brooches. also…ribbons? around the wrist or in the hair, or pinned onto clothing on the left or right.

11 05 2010
Gauche

There’s a whole thread on femme flagging here, if you’re on Fetlife:
http://fetlife.com/groups/18/group_posts/389621

The main suggestions were wrist, neck, ankle/in boots, tied to handbag, shoe laces/earrings and other accessories. But I think most of those options are way too subtle, especially if you’re already struggling with femme invisibility. I’ll write a post about it soon, promise.

11 05 2010
midge

i have two different neckerchiefs that i wear regularly, one of them is little teddy bears in planes so i’m quite sure that one will never be seen as flagging (unless i’m flagging for a cub who is a pilot?) and the other is red and white gingham, except that i’m not flagging sex in the park because it just isn’t that thrilling to me. plus where the knot is doesn’t really mean anything because it moves around all the time.

i’m not that worried about them being interpreted as flags because if someone propositioned me (that sounds a somewhat sinister to me, though, so apologies for vocab fail) about them, i’d just say no. even if i was flagging, i wouldn’t say yes to everyone anyhow.

7 06 2010
flagging opinicus rampant

Tie Me Up – Ribbon Flagging…

The problem, then, with flagging and being femme, is that scarves and handkerchiefs do not always ‘fit’. […] It’s clear that flagging options, like any language with a steadily broadening reach, must expand to include those new user…

1 08 2010
cicada

so i was thinking today, really need some kind of symbol that means ‘this is not a flag’. it inhibits my neckerchief / scarf wearing cause sometimes i get shy and feel like if scarf-ing up people look at me and think ‘ohh, someones hankering for dildoes / biting / fisting…’ whatever when actually i’m just cold and i’m just flagging that i’m freezing :p
yeah sure i can be one of the shyest people in the world but i still think the point remains! even something like a badge / pin / certain knot could be good. it means that people will have to decode the hankies even more which is added fun.

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